What is Autism?

Are you worried about autistic-like behaviours because your child

  • doesn’t talk, play, interact, eat, respond or behave as you would expect at this age?
  • shows repetitive or controlling behaviours like lining things up, flapping hands, tantrums or insisting on sameness?  
  • sometimes seems lost, shut off, passive or withdrawn, prefers to play alone and has no friends, or is overly active and unable to settle to anything?

Did you know that autistic-like behaviours

  • do not necessarily mean your child has autism?
  • are all human behaviours and responses, that can be seen in most people?
  • can often change, when we understand what is really going on to create these difficulties?

Autistic-like Behaviours – Developmental Delay – Regulatory Issues

Autism diagnoses continue to rise, - and there is much confusion as to why this might be. Before considering a formal diagnostic process many parents are therefore looking for someone with a therapeutic developmental outlook to help them explore, what is really going on to create their child’s difficulties, and to help them to find the most effective solutions.

The Need for Rewarding Interactions

But 'if the child is not helped to find manageable, rewarding interactions, he or she will begin to 'shut down' the baffling environmental input and a form of self-imposed sensory deprivation will begin to set in.' says Dr. Stanley Greenspan, 'father' of the DIRFloortime approach  www.floortime.org

'All children have the drive to interact socially, which is the essence of being human' (Prof. Shanker) 

The Power of Play provides scientific evidence, how Floortime play actually works to bring the child into our social world. In this study Prof. Stuart Shanker and his team from York University/Canada show the extraordinary effect that play has on children's lives and how Floortime play helps to build the social brain network. By coaching parents in therapeutic Floortime play and to create the social situations that are necessary for those brain and mental connections to form, the child begins to interact and communicate, because s/he wants to, because it makes sense and is fun, - not because s/he is trained to do so.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAtiRnOxNBg  and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TRL1TMwsuA 

Autism and ASD affects the child's relationships with the world

Some children do have autism, which I see as a sensation-dominated way of being and a defense against unpredictability that affects the child’s relationships with the world, other people and his own mind and body. I believe that autistic behaviours are really coping strategies and an early sensory stress/trauma response that has got stuck, with the individual trapped and unable to get out. Over 25 years of witnessing so many amazing developmental changes in children and their families has confirmed my conviction that

  • autism is not a genetic or otherwise fixed ‘disease’ in need of behaviour modification, but a form of a meaningful emotional communication that can be understood, and can change
  • the standard deficit checklists for establishing or diagnosing autism are ineffective and undermine the healthy developmental potential of child, parents and family
  • defining someone as the sum of their deficits reduces them to a generalised ‘diagnosis’, instead of valuing them as a unique person with a human mind that is designed to change and develop

The Human Brain Can Only Develop in Relationship with another Person, not Alone

It's a brain-to-brain hook-up, and the dose matters, that's why coaching parents, so they can do it at home all the time, is essential.

'About 70% of children diagnosed with ASD could make ‘significant progress or even recover fully, IF parents spend 15 hours/week playing with their child and IF we can show them what to do’,  says Dr. Solomon, a behavioural paediatrician and author of 'Autism - The Potential Within' and director of the PLAY-Project, a DIR-Floortime approach.  http://www.playproject.org